Working from home can be an enlightening experience. With all the benefits it brings, you can work efficiently from the comfort of your own home.
However, whether you’re new to remote work or have been doing it for years, certain challenges may come up — like balancing your children’s needs or finding the right tech. Luckily, there are simple solutions for remote work challenges that everyone can learn from:
1. Get Into the Groove
If you’ve been working from home for a while now, you know your routine can change day-to-day. You’ll also know that having a set routine is invaluable for keeping your day in order. If you’re new to remote work, you’ll want to get into a groove with a predetermined schedule.
Plan when you want to start and end your day, as well as when you want to take breaks. Factor in any other necessities — family, pets, friends and household chores. If your job allows more flexibility, play around with it until you find the best schedule that works to your advantage.
2. Start a Morning Routine
Part of your set schedule involves a morning routine. This section of your day will depend on your preferences. If you’re someone who likes to get up and go right to work, then that’s what you should do. However, you can try starting your day with simple tasks — like making coffee, eating breakfast or reading the news — and go from there.
Do you want to get a head start on the day? Try going for a walk or run in the morning. Giving yourself some extra time could provide a helpful beginning. Then, you’ll be ready to get on top of your work efficiently.
3. Step up Your Tech Game
What does your job require regarding technology? What do you need to get your tasks done responsibly? Do you need a high-tech coffee maker to start your day right?
Tech is a necessity for remote work. For instance, some people use multiple monitors so they can see the different programs they have running and easily switch between them. Other people need a standing desk, lap desk or new chair or laptop for ergonomic purposes.
Technology is a broad field — you can find almost anything you’re looking for to make your job more efficient. One resource may be your employer itself — ask your supervisor if your job provides employees with any tech. It can be a cost-saving route to take.
4. Set Boundaries
You’ll need some boundaries while working — both physical and mental. Where you work influences how well you work. Working alone in your office may be where you focus the best. Others may want to go outside to get some fresh air while completing their tasks. It all depends on your personal efficiency and preferences.
No matter if you live alone, have roommates or have kids and a family, you’ll want to set specific boundaries. If you live alone, set rules for yourself for checking your phone or doing household chores. If you live with other people, explain your needs to them, so they know when to give you space to focus.
5. Focus on Family
With kids or a family in the home, finding a balance can be tough. You need to help your loved ones out while still working. Setting boundaries is the first step. However, meeting each other’s needs as a compromise is a solution as well.
If you have kids, make sure they have what they need before you start working. Food, drinks, toys and technology will cover a good range of necessities. Getting up earlier to start work sooner is a good idea, too. You can complete your more difficult tasks while your children are still asleep. When they wake up, you’ll be transitioning to your easier responsibilities.
The concept still applies if you live alone, too. Family members may call you throughout the day. Inform them of appropriate times to get in touch, so you can focus when you need to.
6. Take Breaks
Taking breaks is one of the most important things you can do during your workday. Powering through the day without taking a single break may sound appealing if you don’t get a paid lunch. However, taking breaks can improve your performance at work.
Your mental health and work efficiency can start taking a downward dive if you aren’t stepping away from the computer enough.
Most employees take 30 to 60 minutes for lunch and a few shorter five- to 15-minute breaks throughout the day. Use this time how you want to. Check your phone, talk to your friends, go for a walk — it’s entirely for your relaxation!
7. Maintain Your Work-Life Balance
Similarly to taking breaks, you should stay on top of your work-life balance. Work can stress you out and occupy your thoughts. It can be hard not to let it get to you, even after you clock out for the day.
One reason why dedicating a space for remote work is so important is that it gives you a set area for your job. Working at home blurs the line between personal and professional dynamics. Therefore, it’s important to step away and be truly done once you hit the end of the day.
Without separating the two, your work can feel all-consuming and negatively impact your mental health at times. Find a better balance by reducing your hours, changing your workflow and how you handle your tasks or focusing on activities you enjoy after work. The more you solidify a line between the two areas, the better you’ll feel.
8. Use Technology
This step may sound a bit obvious, but keep reading. Technology has evolved significantly — countless resources will help you with completing your responsibilities. Of course, you’ll probably need your laptop or phone while working from home. Platforms like G-Suite and Zoom give you tools to succeed.
With document storage and sharing, Google provides an optimal, free space to access files easily. That way, you can access your co-workers’ documents in real-time. A platform like Zoom, on the other hand, gives you video chatting and screen sharing abilities — necessary features for remote work. Meetings have never been so easy.
9. Remember to Socialize
When working in an office, you socialize without even realizing it. You talk to your co-workers and build connections every day. That may seem a bit trickier to accomplish with remote work, but there are ways you can go about it.
You can use the same tech tools, like Zoom and Google, to video or audio chat. Host game or social nights for the workplace so everyone can connect and bond. Maybe you want something simpler — take breaks with your co-workers and chat on the phone while you make lunch.
Remember to socialize with your friends and family, too. If you live alone, loneliness can be difficult to work through. Connect with your loved ones through video calls — seeing their faces provides a unique connection that social media interactions and texting cannot. Whether you’re a few miles or a continent away, tech can help you stay in touch.
10. Take Days Off
If you don’t have paid time off (PTO), this step still applies to you. Though it may intimidate you to think you’re losing money by taking a day off, it comes with benefits.
Mental health is a recurring theme with breaks, socializing and work-life balance — it’s no different with time off. Whether you’re sick or just need a mental health day, take that time for yourself. Put yourself first and make sure you get better and relax. Your responsibilities can wait.
If you don’t take time off, your unhappiness may build and continue an unhealthy cycle. Instead, take that long weekend — you deserve it.
11. Give Feedback
One of the most important things in the workplace is feedback. You and your supervisors can suggest ways to improve. Communication is a foundation that you should build your work ethic and connections upon. With the right back-and-forth dynamics, you’ll have room to grow and help others as well.
Speak up when you have the chance. In meetings, reviews and surveys, always remember to make sure people hear your voice. Be respectful, appropriate and helpful. Once you speak up about your needs or the workplace’s needs, you help everyone evolve. Remote work is a changing landscape — be sure you change with it.
Making the Change
As you make these adjustments in your remote work journey, remember that it’s a transition. It’s not a race to adjust quickly it’s a process where you learn what works best for you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, either. As you work from home, focus on efficiency and not speed. This form of transitioning keeps your focus sharp and your intuitiveness in line with your remote work needs.